Is America Up for a Naval War with China?

Is the U.S., preoccupied with a pandemic and a depression that medical crisis created, prepared for a collision with China over Beijing’s claims to the rocks, reefs and resources of the South China Sea?

For that is what Mike Pompeo appeared to threaten this week.
“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” thundered the secretary of state.

“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources … and (we) reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea.”

Thus did Pompeo put Beijing on notice that the U.S. does not recognize its claim to 90% of the South China Sea or to any exclusive Chinese right to its fishing grounds or oil and gas resources.

Rather, in a policy shift, the U.S. now recognizes the rival claims of Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

To signal the seriousness of Pompeo’s stand, the U.S. sent the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz carrier battle groups through the South China Sea. And, this week, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson sailed close by the Spratly Islands.

But what do Mike Pompeo’s tough words truly mean?


While we have recognized the claims of the other littoral states of the South China Sea, does Pompeo mean America will use its naval power to defend their claims should China use force against the vessels of those five nations?

Does it mean that if Manila, our lone treaty ally in these disputes, uses force to reclaim what we see as its lawful rights in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy will fight the Chinese navy to validate Manila's claims?

Has Pompeo drawn a red line, which Beijing has been told not to cross at risk of war with the United States?

If so, does anyone in Washington think the Chinese are going to give up their claims to the entire South China Sea or retreat from reasserting those claims because the U.S. now rejects them?

Consider what happened to the people of Hong Kong when they thought they had the world's democracies at their back.

For a year, they marched and protested for greater political freedom with some believing they might win independence.

But when Beijing had had enough, it trashed the Basic Law under which Hong Kong had been ceded back to China and began a crackdown.

The democracies protested and imposed economic sanctions. But the bottom line is that Hong Kong's people not only failed to enlarge the sphere of freedom they had, but also they are losing much of what they had.

The Americans, seeing Hong Kong being absorbed into China, are now canceling the special economic privileges we had accorded the city, as the British offer millions of visas to Hong Kong's dissidents who fear what Beijing has in store for them.

In June, Pompeo also charged Beijing with human rights atrocities in Xinjiang: "The world received disturbing reports today that the Chinese Communist Party is using forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coercive family planning against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, as part of a continuing campaign of repression."

These reports, said Pompeo, "are sadly consistent with decades of CCP practices that demonstrate an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity."

China has rejected U.S. protests of its treatment of Uighurs and Kazakhs and of its handling of Hong Kong as interference in its internal affairs and none of America's business.

As for the South China Sea, China dismissively replied, the U.S. seems to be "throwing its weight around in every sea of the world."

These American warnings, and Beijing's response, call to mind the darker days of the Cold War.

So, again, the question: Is America prepared for a naval clash in the South China Sea if Beijing continues to occupy and fortify islets and reefs she claims as her own? Are we prepared for a Cold War II -- with China?

While China lacks the strategic arsenal the USSR had in the latter years of the Cold War, economically, technologically and industrially, China is a far greater power than Soviet Russia ever was. And China's population is four times as large.

Can we, should we, begin to assemble a system of alliances similar to what we had during the Cold War -- with NATO in Europe and Asian security pacts with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand? Should we adopt a policy of containment of Communist China, which, says Pompeo, is an expansionist and "imperialist" power?

Should we start issuing war guarantees to China's neighbors? Should we start putting down red lines China will not be allowed to cross?

Before we plunged into our half dozen Middle East wars, we didn't think through where those would end. Have we considered where all our belated bellicosity toward Beijing must invariably lead, and how this all ends?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever

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34 thoughts on “Is America Up for a Naval War with China?”

  1. Where is the head to head Naval Analysis – of the assets – War ships? Anti ship missiles – Air Forces, etc.

    What can Taiwan throw in?

  2. Let us not forget that China is indeed a super power. They have been developing a new and improved Navy fleet for many years now. We are still behind in that aspect. Let us also remember that Vietnam is a communist country and not an ally that we can depend on. Many of the other countries involved do not have the economic means to enter into a war off any kind with China. We really do need some serious thought and develop a strategic plan before doing anything other than a flag waiving show of force in the South China Sea…

    1. Their navy is really a joke, they wouldn’t stand a chance AT ALL if we decide to take them OUT!

    2. Untried, though, and too :”sure” of themselves, they cannot succeed. Look at what WE went through, in taking on the Nazis in WWII — when we started out carefully they STILL handed us out butts, even when we tried to avoid the main German army. And WE had the economy and production to prevail — China DOES NOT!

  3. so what are we supposed to do? you can not give in to bullies you only invite more bulling if we are drawn into war lets win the dam thing & get it over with

    1. Do you remember Munich and the appeasement of France and Great Britain because they
      did not want to stop the bully, Hitler? China is pulling the same crap. appease me or I’ll fight.
      Bet if we flexed our might they’d think twice before raking us on. You need to confront a bully,
      not appease him.

    2. We have Democrats that would put such ridiculous restraints on our actions as to put our forces at extreme risks. They would never allow us to reach victory.

      1. The Democrats are already more of a liability to us then an asset..All they know how to do is fail and screw up our country..!!..

  4. A naval war with China would only last a few minutes. The CCP fully knows this. The CCP at this point does not even represent the views of the mainland Chinese population. It’s obvious to Chinese citizens that the CCP cares nothing for it’s own population. It’s obvious to the Chinese citizens that the government only lies to them. The floods have only reinforced this conviction. It now looks like Xi’s days are numbered. The CCP is desperate. If anything they definitely fear Mike Pompeo. Now they have a new enemy. Japan? Our Ally! Japan will have 105 F35s and carriers.
    China has been in a secret cold war with the rest of the world for a very long time. It’s not a secret anymore.

  5. I doubt if our Navy is fully prepared to engage the Chinese Navy all by it self. The only ally we have in that region that has any real Naval Power would be Japan and Australia. Our Navy has also been shrunk down since the fall of the U.S.S.R. Many of our older ships have been decommissioned and never replaced. The last 4 battleships are a classic example. Even in today’s high tech Navy, we have nothing that matched the fire power of the battleship. A bunch of arm chair admirals and politicians said the days of ship to ship combat are over. Take on the Chinese Navy and we WILL have ship to ship combat.


    2. Don’t forget our boomers. They can do a LOT, and China has no idea where they are, and it hardly matters anyway, they have ICBM’s, so they could attack from halfway around the world.,

    3. Battleships???? They were no longer the Capital Ships they were before WW II. The Japanese
      Imperial Navy showed that with the attack on Pearl Harbor, with the capture of the Philippines,
      the capture of Guam and wake island, the bombing of Broome and Darwin in Australia. There
      were NO Battleships present, even though the JIN had two of the biggest Battleships in the
      world. Aircraft Carriers replaced the Battleships as the foremost capital ship. We have 11 and China
      has one that is always out of commission. NO CONTEST. Also, even though Clinton tried hard to gut
      our navy we still have more destroyers and far more cruisers than China has. China’s navy would
      be obliterated.

  6. The Simple Truth Reflective Of The Chinese Communist Party’s Absolutely Godless And Therefore Void Spiritual Determination Clarifies What Small Fraction Of Humankind These UnGodly Statists Actually Represent…!!!!

  7. For too long American politicians like JOE BIDEN have given the communist Chinese everything they’ve wanted….and in Biden’s case….he PROFITED from selling out America’s middle class and industries…..multinational companies like NIKE, Apple, etc….have also profited from selling out America for cheap communist Chinese labor (including SLAVE labor….which is pretty ironic considering hypocritical NIKE paid Kaepernick MILLIONS for kneeling and purport to support black Americans by supporting MARXIST ‘Black Lives Matter’ …America should align itself with those Asian countries and do whatever is necessary to stop the spread of communist Chinese influence….the Chicoms are a duplicitous government who steal intellectual property, manipulate their currency, demand technology transfer as a condition of doing business etc…..and sadly….too many American liberal ELITES are helping them for PROFIT….Re-electing President Trump is imperative if communist China is to be held accountable……How can we expect pandering Joe Biden to stop China when he’s helped them all along….while his CRACKHEAD son was paid MILLIONS for it….

    1. I forgot to mention that the Chinese communists have MURDERED more of their own people than any government in human history….they also ignore treaties, patents etc……..They really are the SCUM of the earth…… WHY DO AMERICAN LEFTISTS push communist Chinese PROPAGANDA?…..for PROFIT of course….Mike Bloomberg makes BILLIONS there….that’s why he ordered his ‘news organization’ NOT to say anything negative about the Chicoms….the same goes for the CEO’s of many of our MULTINATIONAL companies…..PROFIT before what’s right….PROFIT before patriotism….that’s the American ELITIST liberals…

      1. They have been bought by the Globalist corporations and dynasty families that think they are the most elite of ALL, and are all following the “old Religion”, following Lucifer and following his satanic goals, these psychopaths are all pedophiles and death-worshippers, spreading those beliefs onto all who they control, to compromise them fully. Epstein was their concierge as such, his “business” is still thriving under other leadership — that has never even slowed down when Epstein was murdered so that he could tell no tales, or possibly was spirited away, but I doubt that. I don’t think he was really “important” enough, he was only a place holder propped up by the anonymous dynasties that comprise the spider headquarters for their world-wide aspirations that they have actually PUBLISHED over the years, we KNOW what they plan for us, and we can (and MUST) take them out, this time around.

    2. So many people have no idea how our own government has sold out the American people for so many years..It has all been for self enrichment..Our leadership in this country has sucked beyond reason in the past..

  8. I have read all the comments and agree with them. But we have to remember that if we do go to war with China, Russia just might join them and if so I do not believe our fleet could combat them. Also our Iranian and Afghan would start a war here in the USA where there are many of them. We have more enemies in this country them you may think. I believe this war if there is one will take many fronts.

  9. The next war with weapons will be over in a few days and it will be fought with
    nuclear weapons from bombs dropped from aircraft, short, medium and long range
    rockets and the only question will be, “Will the nukes work as the polonium triggers
    have to replaced every 18 months and they are expensive. Then the peace will be
    won by the remaining nation that has the best agriculture and fuel. China and Russia
    do not have adequate agriculture or developed natural resources; we do. It is just that

  10. China will be WIPED OUT if it EVER got into a war with the U.S. China’s capabilities are “3rd World” (just like it’s FAILED leadership) when compared to the U.S. It will ALL be at the BOTTOM of the sea. One Enlightened Patriot. Team Trump and his allies 2020.

  11. Thinking about the pre-WWII years, Japan took over Manchuria and the world stood by. The Japanese went on destroy much of China in the following years to include its expansion into the Pacific and South Asia. The Germans retook the Rhineland, controlled Austria, achieved the Munich agreement and appeasement, and went on to occupy Europe and much of western Russia before it was pushed back at the cost of millions of lives. The United States and the rest of the world believed it could bring a totalitarian power, China, into the folds of democracy and fair trade. That has proved to be a sham and now the US finds itself trying to catch up. Even Australia’s new Strategy Paper identifies the threat of coercion even though it does not specifically identify Beijing. I recognize that we now live in a world with nuclear weapons which changes the calculus, but that does not relieve nations from the responsibility of upholding the rule of law. The US is already in an economic war with China and has the upper hand. Now it is time to add Diplomacy, Information, and Military capabilities to the equation. It is time to be on the initiative and not passively standing by waiting for PRC to take the next step. The US must muster its allies and other like nations to ensure China has to look inward to protect the CCP from internal disorder and not expand its influence and the detriment of free people around the world. We need to play GO with Xi and not Chess.

  12. Spot on! Yes America should begin to establish and build a coalition of nations opposed to China’s imperialist expansion! If the US were to do the same to our neighbors the Chinese would be the first to declare us the Imperialist Tyrants they are. With that said I think most thinking people can see were some interesting parallels are drawn right now in our election year.

  13. An endless , mindless continuum of irrational decision making on the part of the United States. International political error after error in every administration from the Kennedy/ Johnson till the present. Will someone give these guys a history course so we stop repeating the past mistakes. Ending the Draft by Nixon was a futile effort to prove he was “not a crook”. It’s loss to this country has led to a new” generation of vipers” in our youth with their irrational responses of violent behavior. Reinstitution of a National program for”All young people” to serve in some capacity to their Country for a period of +/_ 2 years. Work in a Peace type corp, serve in the American Indian areas, Appalachia, wherever … just be of service to something besides “their selfish selves”.

  14. We should have a mutual defense pact with respect to China that includes South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia. Most, if not all of these countries, have a vested interest in the South China Sea. Some of these countries might not be interested but I believe South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, and India would be most interested in the concept. I believe our Navy and air power are up to the task and quite possibly such a conflict might give the Chinese people the opening to overthrow the CCO.

    Forget battleships – air power and submarines are the key.

    No appeasement!

    1. I am hoping our new Space Force will have something to bring to bear. People have tried to prevent such weapons from being created and used, hoping to keep space neutral, but the Chinese have already demonstrated the feasibility of satellite based weapons that kill other satellites. Space is no longer neutral, and we need to maximize our military presence there.


  16. This is not wise by USA. We need to back off. We are playing with fire. Devastation would be disastrous if we do.

  17. If China is unchecked and unchallenged I fear the CCP will engage in the same economic takeover of the surrounding regions as Japan did with its Greater East Asia Co Economic Sphere.The strategic goal of China has always been to form a Chines Communist Hegemony of the Pacific Rim and the United States stands in direct confrontation of that goal. It would not surprise me in the least if it were discovered that the CCP is ,in some way- supporting the anarchist and communist element that is violently protesting the very existence of our constitutional republic. We are on a collision course with China it remains to be seen if that course is a cold or hot war . This Marine sergeant’s opinion this is going to go hot within the next 5 years or sooner.

  18. Are you kidding, with the Navy that we have now I don’t think that we could defeat Noah’s Ark! The Muslim-Marxist jihadist Obaa-baa-ma, NWO-puppet had decimated our once great fighting forces and their PC leader(less)ship into a PC “McHale’s Navy”! Take this to the bank: China, with perhaps help from Russia, will defeat Babylon II as the Bible prophesy will be fulfilled! Sorry if the truth hurts but that is the way it will play out!

  19. My opinion is that we cannot ignore China’s intent to “rule” the South China Sea. Such move would enlarge their dominance as a “World Power” and subjugate all the small independent countries. “Bellicosity” or not – and I think not – inaction would be not only to our detriment but also to the detriment of the Free World.

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